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Meet the New Seniors!

January 2, 2012
by

Here it is- the final group of age eligible gymnasts for the 2012 Olympic Games. I tried to focus on gymnasts who could make the top 4 teams that are in medal contention, as well as gymnasts who could make an impact as individuals and gymnasts who can make a difference in their team’s standing in 2012, at either the Olympics or the test event. This really is all about the Olympics, so if a gymnast without a team is not on the nominative list for the test event (this is not final, I know), they will not be on this list because they will not be at the Olympics.

Photo: Harry How

Name: Kyla Ross
Country: USA
Notable Results: 1st AA, BB, 2nd VT, UB 2011 Jesolo, 2nd AA, UB, BB, 3rd VT 2011 Jr Nationals, 1st AA, BB, 3rd VT, FX 2010 Junior Nationals, 1st VT, 2nd AA, UB, FX 2010 Pac Rim, 2nd AA 2010 Jesolo, 1st AA 2009 Jr Nationals
Strengths: Kyla is generally a very steady competitor, particularly on beam, where she is capable of outscoring most if not all of the current US seniors. She upgraded to the “must have” Amanar vault this year, and it has gotten better throughout the season. Her bars are clean and have potential for upgrades, despite the fact that they are already more difficult than they look. Every event except for vault looks upgradable.
Weaknesses: Her Amanar still is inconsistent, and has been downgraded once. Her bars have potential, but with the lack of difficulty, she may not be a better choice than someone like Jordyn Wieber on that apparatus. Her floor is good but not great. Her choreography is not incredibly engaging, and her skills are usually well landed and clean in the air, but not difficult enough to get her into a floor lineup.
Videos: Vault (Amanar), Vault (DTY), Bars, Beam, Floor (partial), Floor (old routine) 

Photo: Stefan Wurzer, Gymnastics United

Name: Larisa Iordache
Country: Romania
Notable Results: 1st AA, BB, FX, 2nd VT, BB 2011 EYOF, 1st on all events 2011 ROU vs GBR (juniors), 1st AA, UB, BB, FX 2011 Gym-Festival of Trnava, 1st AA (guest) 2011 French Nationals, 1st FX, 2nd BB, 3rd AA 2010 Junior Europeans
Strengths: Iordache is, like (almost) any Romanian gymnast, a superb vault, beam and floor worker. Additionally, her bars might end up being the best on her team in 2012. She competes routines with difficulty comparable to the 2011 World Champions on beam and floor, and is training two 6.5 vaults (almost definitely the Amanar and Cheng). Larisa is Romania’s only real 2012 AA medal contender.
Weaknesses: Her bars will be great for her team, but will hurt her in an all around final where at least three of the top gymnasts will probably have Amanars, great beam routines, and great floor routines as well. While she has broken into the 14s, some girls can score mid-high 15s. She has a lot of potential for upgrades, but we have not seen many of them in competition. There have been training videos of a double double, 3 1/2 twist and a layout full on beam, but who knows if those will actually be in her routines. I also have not been able to find a video of her DTY vault.
Videos: Vault (yurchenko 1 1/2), Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: gymnet

Name: Anastasia Sidorova
Country: Russia
Notable Results: 2nd FX 2011 Voronin Cup, 1st VT, BB, FX, 2nd AA 2011 Junior Nationals, 2nd BB, FX 2011 Jesolo, 1st AA, BB, FX, 2nd VT 2010 Top Gym, 4th AA (prelims), 3rd FX 2010 Junior Europeans
Strengths: Sidorova is another vault, beam and floor specialist who probably will not touch the bars in London. She is usually a calm and consistent competitor on beam, which is very valuable for the Russian team. Her vault seemed to have gone downhill in the first half of 2011, but has gotten back to it’s usual standard and could possibly be an Amanar by London. She has landed an Amanar in the past (no video).
Weaknesses: A Sidorova/Grishina hybrid (Sidorova’s vault, beam, floor and consistency, Grishina’s bars and beauty) could be Olympic AA champion. Unfortunately, her bars kill her all around score- despite beating Grishina on three events at 2011 nationals, she did not beat her all around. She is also still recovering from an injury sustained while riding a bike this summer.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: Stefan Wurzer, Gymnastics United

Name: Anastasia Grishina
Country: Russia
Notable Results: 1st UB, FX, 2nd AA 2010 Junior Europeans, 1st AA, UB, 2nd VT, FX, BB 2011 Junior Nationals, 1st AA 2011 Zakharova Cup, 1st UB 2011 Jesolo, 1st AA, UB, BB, FX 2010 Jesolo
Strengths: At the moment, Grishina looks like a bars specialist with some good all around results. Hopefully, she will be able to step up in the next year and get another event (beam or floor) consistent with high enough difficulty for team finals. If Mustafina is not able to regain her difficulty on vault and floor, Grishina could earn the second all around spot for Russia. She has beautiful form and is one of the most artistic gymnasts of the quadrennium.
Weaknesses: Grishina is literally always injured or sick. This has probably stopped her from progressing the way that I hoped she would in the past year. She is very inconsistent and does not have the difficulty to compete with the top all arounders at the moment. Vault, in particular, has always been very weak for her. I love her gymnastics, but I am worried that she will not be able to live up to her potential.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: weibo.com/gymjiajia

Name: Huang Huidan
Country: China
Notable Results: 2nd UB, 3rd AA, FX, 2010 May Nationals, 1st AA, UB, FX, 2nd BB 2011 Intercity Games, 1st BB, 2nd UB 2011 National Individual Championships, 3rd UB, 6th AA 2011 Wild Rose, 2nd AA 2011 Junior Nationals
Strengths: Huang is a bars and beam specialist with impeccable form and a high level of difficulty. She is artistic and has unique composition on bars and beam.
Weaknesses: Vault and Floor, despite some good results on floor at national competitions. Huang is inconsistent, especially on beam, and has not competed much internationally. At her biggest international competition, she had many mistakes. Her top two events are typical for a chinese gymnast, and we have seen that gymnasts like Huang and Wu Liufang are not guaranteed spots on the Chinese team, even if they are potential world medallists on two events.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: Licorice Gallery

Name: Zeng Siqi
Country: China
Notable Results: 1st AA, BB, 2nd UB 2011 Junior Nationals, 2nd BB, FX, 3rd AA 2011 Senior Nationals (May)
Strengths: Zeng is a charismatic, charming little gymnast with a lot of talent. She is great on beam, and with some more difficulty, could be in contention for a floor spot as well. She is one of the gymnasts who could be China’s second all arounder with Yao Jinnan.
Weaknesses: Vault, despite the fact that she has a double twisting yurchenko, is a weakness. She is tiny, and has trouble getting it around. Her bars are also not exceptional, which could hurt her if Sui Lu makes the team as expected and Cheng Fei has a successful return. In that case, she would have to do bars in team finals, and she was scoring 13s with hit routines earlier this year.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: Grace Chiu

Name: Victoria Moors
Country: Canada
Notable Results: 1st AA, UB, FX 2011 Junior Nationals, 1st AA, FX 2011 Gymnix, 1st AA, VT, UB, FX 2010 Elite Canada, 1st AA, VT, FX 2011 Combs, 1st FX, 2nd AA 2011 Massilia
Strengths: Moors is going to be the backbone of the Canadian team in 2012. She has one of the team’s only DTYs and a finals-worthy floor routine. She has been consistent in 2011, and looks like a near lock for the team and a likely all around finalist.
Weaknesses: Her bars and beam are not up to par with her vault and floor. They are still great for her team (she can break 14), but they will not help her much as an individual.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: Stefan Wurzer, Gymnastics United

Name: Erika Fasana
Country: Italy
Notable Results: 1st AA, FX at Italian Test Event (late 2011), 2nd AA, FX, 3rd VT 2011 EYOF, 1st AA 2011 Junior ITA vs GER vs ROU vs FIN, 3rd AA 2010 Jesolo, 3rd VT, 5th AA, 6th FX 2010 Junior Europeans
Strengths: Fasana is one of Italy’s best all arounders, and competes one of their only double twisting yurchenkos (their only clean one!). She has a lot of interesting skills, including a backhandspring-arabian combination. She is a near-lock for Italy’s teams, and is one of the three likely all arounders on the team.
Weaknesses: I would not exactly call her gymnastics “pretty” on some events. Her beam routine is difficulty, but shaky, and contains many built in deductions.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

via fyeahgymnastics.tumblr.com

Name:  Francesca De Agostini
Country: Italy
Notable Results: 1st BB, 2nd AA, FX at Italian Test Event (late 2011), 3rd AA 2011 Italian Championships, 3rd BB 2011 EYOF, 11th AA 2011 Jesolo, 2nd AA 2011 Junior ITA vs GER vs ROU vs FIN
Strengths: De Agostini has not been the star of the Italian juniors this year, but she is a strong all arounder and will be a great addition to the Italian team. She is particularly strong on beam, where she performs a stylish routine with a decent difficulty level.
Weaknesses: De Agostini’s vault is weak and may keep her from competing all around in major competitions.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: ezechiele.lupo@live.it via gymnet

Name: Murakami Mai
Country: Japan
Notable Results: 1st FX 2011 Japanese Nationals, 11th AA 2010 Jesolo, 2nd FX 2010 Junior Asian Games, 2nd FX, 8th AA (competing as an exhibition) 2009 Japanese Junior International
Strengths: Murakami has some of the hardest skills in the code of points on beam and floor. She has a star quality and opposite strengths from many of her teammates.
Weaknesses: Her bars will hurt her in an all around situation and she often does not compete all of the difficult skills that made her stand out in the first place. When she does compete them, they are often far from perfect. We really have not seen much of her in the past two years.
Videos: Vault (part of a montage, 2009), Bars, Beam (2009)Beam (quad turn), Floor

Photo: Lisa’s Website

Name: Lisa Top
Country: Netherlands
Notable Results: 1st AA (and all event finals!) 2011 Junior Nationals, 2nd AA 2011 Pre-Olympic Youth Cup, 10th AA 2011 EYOF, 18th AA 2011 Massilia, 7th AA, FX 2010 Junior Europeans
Strengths: Lisa will be a great addition to the Dutch team as an all arounder in 2012, especially with all of the injuries that they need to overcome to qualify to the Olympics. I like her a lot on floor, where she is very powerful but knows how to control her landings. She has an original bars dismount, a half in double tuck from reverse grip (the twist is much earlier than it would be on a double front 1/2 out).
Weaknesses: Even with the addition of Top, the Dutch team will be weaker in London than it was in Tokyo. Lisa Top may be the girl who earns an Olympic berth for her injured teammate, Celine Van Gerner, and not be a factor to actually compete in the games. While she is a strong all arounder with good execution, she has low difficulty on vault and bars.
Video: All Events, December 2011

Photo: Thomas Schreyer

Name: Anne Kuhm
Country: France
Notable Results: 6th AA, 7th BB 2011 Massilia, 5th AA 2010 Junior Europeans, 1st AA 2011 Junior Nationals, 2nd AA 2010 ROU vs FRA vs GBR
Strengths: Kuhm is a great all arounder, possibly the best in France at the moment. She is a clean gymnast with pretty lines, and a good competitor. My favorite event to watch her on is beam.
Weaknesses: Kuhm has limited international experience and low difficulty on every event compared to the top all arounders in the world. If France does not qualify a team to London, she may stay at home so that an event specialist has the opportunity to compete.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: Alan Edwards

Name: Ruby Harrold
Country: Great Britain
Notable Results: 1st AA 2010 Coupe Avenir, 1st VT 2010 British Championships
Strengths: Ruby is one of the only British gymnasts to attempt a double twisting yurchenko in this quadrennium, which could make a difference in team finals. She is also strong on bars.
Weaknesses: She does not seem to have the consistency that she needs to overcome the gymnasts who have been making world teams for the past few years for Great Britain. They may not want to risk putting her on the team if it could keep them out of team finals at home.
Videos: Montage- 2010 Junior Europeans, Bars, Floor

Photo: Augsburger-Allgemeine

Name: Janine Berger
Country: Germany
Notable Results: 1st VT 2011 EYOF, 7th AA 2011 Trofeo di Lugano, 5th VT, 16th AA 2010 Junior Europeans
Strengths: VAULT. Her Rudi and full twisting tsukahara would pretty much make her a sure thing for vault finals, and if she manages to add another twist to her tsukahara, she would be in contention for a medal.
Weaknesses: Everything else. Believe it or not, Germany is already the third best vault team in the world (they were 3rd in prelims and finals). Janine’s relative weakness on the other events may keep her off of the team, which must be going for team finals once again after a 6th place finish last year. Overall, she needs to clean up her gymnastics.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Photo: USA Gymnastics

Name: Sarah Finnegan
Country: USA
Notable Results: 3rd AA, BB, FX, 5th UB 2011 Junior Nationals, 1st FX, 4th BB, 6th AA 2010 Junior Nationals, 3rd BB 2010 Pan American Championships,
Strengths: Sarah is a clean, beautiful gymnast. She has emerged as one of the top US juniors this year ahead of girls like Lexie Priessman, who have more difficulty and bigger skills. She was undefeated on floor for about a year with her artistic and difficult routine. She also has a lot of difficulty on beam.
Weaknesses: She would be a lock for many teams, but for the US, she needs to improve on every event and get help from other contenders with more experience and difficulty to have a shot at making the team. There is really no event that makes her a “must have” gymnast for team USA, and her lowest scores are usually on bars, where team USA needs the most help.
Videos: Vault, Bars, Beam, Floor

Name: Luo Peiru
Country: China
Notable Results: 1st UB 2011 National Individual Championships, 2nd VT, UB, 4th AA 2011 Intercity Games, 3rd VT 2011 Junior Nationals
Strengths: One of the best double twisting yurchenkos in China and a strong bars routine with unusual releases for a Chinese gymnast.
Weaknesses: Luo has never competed internationally before and is just starting to emerge nationally. We should remember, though, that Yao Jinnan never competed internationally before 2011. Luo, at the moment, is not a contender on beam or floor, which could hurt her when comparing her to somebody like Huang Qiushuang, who is also very good on vault and bars, but has better beam and floor routines.
Videos: VaultBarsBeamFloor

Photo: Nahira Hernández

Name: Valeria Pereyra
Country: Argentina
Notable Results: 1st AA 2011 Pre-Olympic Youth Cup, 1st AA 2011 Junior South American Championships, 1st UB, 3rd AA 2011 Senior South American Championships, 2nd AA 2011 Olympic Hopes Cup, 1st AA 2011 Puerto Rico Cup (Junior Division), 1st AA 2011 Junior Argentinean Nationals
Strengths: She is very clean, and look a little bit like an NCAA gymnast (this is my way of saying that she should do NCAA gymnastics in the future). She is not fighting anybody from her country for a spot- it’s all up to her. She has a good amount of difficulty on floor.
Weaknesses: She is not incredibly consistent all around, and although she certainly could be in contention for a spot in all around finals at the Olympics, she could not make it with a flawed performance. Of course, I am getting ahead of myself, because she has not even qualified for the Olympics yet.
Videos: All events, November 2011

Name: Ji Hye Sung
Country: Korea
Notable Results: 1st BB, 2nd UB, 3rd AA, FX, 4th VT 2011 Japanese Junior International
Strengths: She has incredible form, similar to most Chinese and Japanese gymnasts. There is a lot of difficulty in her bars and beam routines, and I love the stalders that she performs out of her pak salto.
Weaknesses: She is inconsistent and does not have much experience. The Korean women were both a pleasant surprise and a disappointment in Tokyo, and she may have similar results in London (at the test event and/or at the Olympics). Her vault will not stand out on her team, which was 6th on vault in Tokyo.
Videos: All events, September 2011

Other gymnasts born in 1996 competing at the test event include  Terri Grand’ry (Belgium), Johanna Dejardin (Belgium), Rebecca Tunney (Great Britain),  Lorena Quinones Moreno (Puerto Rico) and Nadia Muelhauser (Switzerland).

Additional gymnasts who were not named to the test event (if possible) or have smaller chances of making their teams who were born in 1996 include Maria Balea (Romania), Elizabeth Price (USA), MyKayla Skinner (USA), Brenna Dowell (USA), Kiana Winston (USA), Kennedy Baker (USA), Anna Rodionova (Russia), Kristina Sidorova (Russia), Doriane Thobie (France), Zhou Qiaohong (China), Li Yiting (China), Shang Chunsong (China), Krystina Sankova (Ukraine), Natalie Vaculik (Canada) and Sabrina Gill (Canada).

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2012 6:13 AM

    It is a pity that such a beautiful gymnast Anastasia Grishina not find photos

  2. January 4, 2012 1:24 PM

    Lorena Moreno is going to the test event for Cuba!

    http://www.theworldgymnastblog.blogspot.com

  3. Anonymous permalink
    January 27, 2012 4:19 PM

    Anne Kuhm is really good on vault !

  4. May 2, 2013 10:42 PM

    Thanks for a marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it,
    you might be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your
    blog and will come back from now on. I want to encourage continue your great posts, have a nice holiday weekend!

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